Race: Nuun Year Dash (Virtual) 5K
Place: New Albany, Indiana
Date: February 4, 2016
As you may have noticed on the side of my blog…or through my postings on social media (like my Instagram), for the second year in a row, I was given the opportunity to be an Ambassador for Nuun. I have been using Nuun since I began training for my first marathon, and I haven’t looked back to Gatorade or those sports drinks since. I don’t like the way all the sugar in those drinks messes with my stomach and body…so Nuun was a fantastic choice for me.
What’s even better is, just this month, they released their new and improved formula for their Nuun Active and Nuun Energy varieties. These tablets that you drop into your water now use a combination of plant-based sweeteners that help provide a balanced sweetness profile. This is obtained by using a combination of monk fruit extract and stevia leaf extract. Nuun Active and Nuun Energy also now include 1 gram dextrose (d-glucose), a natural, fast-releasing carbohydrate serving roles in the production of the Nuun tablets (in regards to tablet integrity), as well as its ability to bind sodium and water to help increase the rate of fluid and electrolyte delivery. In addition, both Nuun Active and Nuun Energy are now certified gluten free, vegan, and Informed-Choice (trusted by sport certified). The upgrade was, ultimately, done to help take your favorite hydration product, and make it better. With the addition of a non-GMO sourced dextrose, the rate at which fluids and electrolytes make their way to working muscles increases. And the use of plant-based sweeteners provides an ideal sweetness profile, without being too over-powering or sweet.
I know that got a little scientific, but it’s a big deal and those of us who are a part of the Nuun family are excited about these changes. Especially me.
All that being said, as part of the Nuun Ambassador team and as a runner, once again, attempting a comeback from a nagging (1 year on February 16) hip labrum tear injury…I really wanted to participate in the Nuun Year Dash 5K/10K virtual race that was being held. I normally would have kicked in for that 10K distance, but I’ve worked too hard at getting back on the road to push too much, too hard, too fast. I stuck with the 5K distance, registered, and awaited the package with all the swag to arrive.
And it did…back on February 1. The actual event is taking place from Friday, February 5 – Monday, February 8…but my weekend is pretty packed and after my “long” run on Saturday (longest run since August when I did a 16 miler on leg with a stress fracture (which I wasn’t aware of at the time)) of only 8 miles, my hip might be done for. So, the training plan I am quasi-following had me scheduled for 3 miles on Thursday…so I figured I could run from my job to my home and tack on the additional .1 (yep…I live 3 miles away)…and that way I get it done (a day early, but still done). My roommate drove the car home from work…no worries, LOL!
At about 4:10 pm on Thursday, I went to go get changed, for the first time since August, into “racing gear.” Granted, this is a virtual 5K, and while there are prizes being awarded, the biggest reward to me, at this time, is the fact that I’m getting out there again and participating in group runs and…(virtual) races. I had no expectations for time or placement…I just wanted the distance. So, I stepped out in my bright colors (I’m always bright), my hair color, pigtails, and the provided race big. I knew I was going to freeze out there. It was around 33 degrees Thursday when I left work, and since the previous day had a high of 50, I didn’t think about the change in temperature when I packed my bag the night before. I put my Nuun Year Dash t-shirt on over my long sleeve tech shirt and hoped it would keep me warm for the (at least) 30 minutes I was out running. I got the provided race bib pinned on…left my stuff with my roommate to take home…and left the office just after 4:30 pm.
The biggest challenge, after my Garmin found it’s signal, which took forever, was going to be the stoplights and rush hour traffic. But this wasn’t the first time I’ve run home from the office…so…I knew what I was getting myself into. This is, however, the coldest it has been when I have run home from work, so there is that. HA!
I started by the YMCA and ran through the parking lot, around my building, up an incline, back onto Main Street, back toward the YMCA, managed to hit the light at the right time to cross the street and make the trek home. It was cold and windy…but the leg and hip felt good. I felt good. It had been ages, it seemed, since I ran home from the office. It was a blessing just to be able to do this. I was cautious, of course, trying to remember my training in physical therapy because the last thing I need to do is get another stress fracture because I am compensating for the hip. The run felt good, and when I caught myself favoring the hip and applying more time and pressure to the opposite leg, I fixed it immediately. I had to top at a couple of stop lights on the way, but once they changed and I made sure traffic was aware of me (I was in bright, fluorescent yellow pants…I’m hard to miss!), I continued on the route I had run so many fall, spring and summer days before. I probably got some pretty strange looks, being the only person out and running, wearing a race bib, but that’s part of the fun. I’ve never been normal…why start now?
I made the turn onto the road I live off of, with about 1.5 miles to go. There was a 4-way stop to navigate through, but I swore I saw my car (driven by the roomie) pull out just as I turned…so she would make it home to be my race photographer. YAY! I slowed slightly at the 4 way stop…then when I knew for sure all the drivers were aware of me, I crossed and made my way to the stoplight about a quarter mile further up the road. I had to stop again and wait for the lights…one to cross the road, and then the other to cross to the other side of the homestretch because that way I could just turn into my apartment complex and not have to dodge traffic to get there. Once that was accomplished, I had just over a half mile left. I made a small climb over a hill…knowing it was the last incline of the day…so I pushed a little more…then ran past the old cemetery…up the way…past a house with a barking dog…and toward my apartment complex. I half expected my roommate to be standing out there with the sign she holds at all my races and camera ready…but there was no sign of her. At all. My watch beeped for 3 miles just before I made the turn into the drive of the apartment complex. I took the turn toward my apartment building, and still no sign of the roommate. And then I hit 3.11 miles and…was done.
After I stopped my Garmin and then started to walk to cool off, she rounds the corner, on her phone, still doing work, camera in hand…but the moment was done and so was I. I had her snap a few pictures (no official finisher photo this time) before calling it a day and heading upstairs for a nice hot shower to take the chill out of me. Because I was cold. I never really warmed up on that run, which is weird for me.
SO…while the official results have yet to be tallied, I can tell you this much…my official time for the Nuun Year Dash (Virtual) 5K is 25:38. I keep telling myself, I’m fresh to my comeback. Speed will (hopefully) eventually come back. For now, just be thankful for the time out on the road, and the ability to be out there running again. I’m really proud of myself for pushing it (a little) and for getting this run done…with perfect negative splits to boot! It’s hard, because I used to be so focused on my numbers and so speed driven, that this slow down hasn’t been an easy transition for me. I push as hard as my body allows sometimes, and while it’s not up to par with where I used to be, this is a fresh start…and I have to realize that with these limitations with my hip…I may never be pushing those 7 minute miles again. It’s not easy…believe me…there have been tears shed over this…but the best feeling right now…is my feet on that pavement again. Every run is a blessing. Even the slow(er) ones.
I am so proud to be a part of the Nuun Family and hope to continue to be an ambassador for their amazing (and new and improved) products. If you haven’t tried Nuun yet…I encourage it. It’s a great way to make your water count and to stay hydrated. Even on the cold runs. This race wasn’t against the others competing and participating, but against all the self-doubt, fear, and pain that I’ve dealt with for almost a year. This is definitely the start of, what I hope will be, a beautiful comeback.
(Obligatory hashtags: #nuunambassador2016 #nuunambassador #nuun #nuunlove #nuunlife #nuunhydration #stayhydrated #NuunYearDash #makeyourwatercount #letsruntogether)